Incredibly, almost unbelievably, Elbow Room is 5 years old this year. The very first volume, made on my Mums dining room table, was released in 2012.
According to the online settings on my twitter account I joined on April 12, 2012 at 11:39 am. That’s the earliest Elbow Room date I have an official record of. And its feels right that it should be, with so much of this journey playing out of social media. We stand now, 5 years, 16 volumes, three UEA special editions, two competitions and well over a hundred published writers and artists later and I find it all hard to fathom. Elbow Room has changed my the landscape of life, I’ve met incredible people, made amazing friends, been to book fairs, done things I never dreamt I would have the strength, courage or ability to do.
In the introduction to the first volume I wrote about coming across a hand painted sign for a bookshop so tiny it only had space for a desk and one over flowing bookcase. This was the birth of Elbow Room and is a story I tell quite regularly. Despite the size of the shop they had divided the shelves into fiction, poetry, illustration, photography etc. I found myself frustrated that art, visual and written, is not allowed to sit together more regularly. I decided to create something that celebrates art in all guises. All the contact information, the website details and email in this first volume are now completely out of date, but this core idea, this ethos still runs strong through everything Elbow Room does.
Elbow Room went out into the world on April 17th 2012 with our first offering a track from the ever Incredible Late Arrivals Club, a band that would become regulars online and off on Elbow Room stages around London and Norwich. On April 19th 2012 a hunt for paper began and Zelda and I had our first contact. Little did I know then how integral connection would become to every aspect of Elbow Room. For months I tested papers and played with layout design until on the 25th of August 2012 Vol. One was released.
From the first to the 16th (and beyond) I am immensely proud of every volumes of Elbow Room we have produced. Proud of every live night, every exhibition, every conversation we have had. I want to thank you all, from contributors to performers to readers. Without you none of this would be possible.
So, now for the fun it! We have decided to celebrate turning 5 by having a picnic on Telegraph Hill on July 15th from 3pm. Full details can be found on our Facebook page HERE! We are also making a special something (obviously) so watch this space and we will tell you more soon.